Apologising for stuff that isn't your fault

To clarify, this is not a post specifically aimed at Canadians.
Today, some poor unfortunate soul got a flat tyre on the road home, just outside my allotment.
Despite my pointing out that there was a perfectly capable garage some five hundred yards down the road, he insisted that he needed RAC, as it was a company car, so all he wanted from me was the name of the village and a postcode. No prob.
I asked him what happened. He said he got a flat hitting a pothole. The first thing I did was apologise for the state of the local roads.
Only five minutes after he’d left did I think “what the hell am I apologising for?”.


Sorry, but I have to protest in the mildest of terms this national stereotyping. Have a nice day, eh.


Being from the UK, I suffer from the habit of apologising to people who bump into me, as though it’s my fault.
Your reply made me guffaw, mind you:

So thank you.


I'm Sorry


Congratulations, you’ve shown yourself to be enough of a real man that you don’t mind thinking like a woman.

You were saying “sorry that happened to you” not “sorry I did something to cause that” (even though of course you didn’t).

In other words, you weren’t pretending it was your fault, you were being sympathetic.


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Unless I’m talking to someone I know well, I probably apologize three or four times over the course of a conversation, especially on the phone. I always apologize for calling to begin with. Canada and the UK got nothing on Japan.


In many cases you can substitute “My Bad” in lieu of “I’m Sorry” and convey the same meaning without sounding overly apologetic.

Just don’t do that at a funeral.


i’m sorry*, IMHO, “my bad” needs to go away. it is just an annoying turn of phrase that conveys nothing.
[ * see what i did there.


It conveys the exact same thing as mea culpa, which I have never seen complained about.

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at least mea culpa uses proper grammar and sounds better.
see also: “beg your pardon” or “excuse me”.

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Sorry (ha), but my mileage does indeed vary.

“Proper grammar”? Really?

I love hearing variations from the current version of white, middle-class (and let’s face it, tightassed) USian English. So many clever, euphonious and downright beautiful examples arise, for example, from AAVE.

Indeed, white middle-class Americans in general often agree, by adopting some of them. I bet even you have improperly described something as cool that wasn’t literally colder than what was around it.

“My bad” may convey nothing to your ears, but it does to many others. Including those of many middle-class white people who also use it.


well then, i’m sorry i said anything.

my bad.


I think that here though we are talking about something that is not your bad, or something that you definitely are not responsible for.

For example, when someone tells me that their mother was crushed by a falling grand piano 6 hours ago, 2000 miles away saying “my bad” has a very different meaning from “I’m sorry”.

Also, I am probably saying the former as I wink and tuck an airline ticket and a frayed length of rope into my jacket pocket

And that hardly ever happens to me


To my ears “My bad” sounds more apologetic than “I’m sorry”. “I’m sorry” has a sympathetic connotation that “My bad” doesn’t quite carry. “My bad” sounds like taking responsibility for an action that, perhaps, should not have been taken.

It can be used instead if you are apologizing for something you did or said, but not as an expression of sympathy.


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